September 14, 2018

I Didn't Think So.

Two of my favorite photos merged. One was caught on a spinner and the other on a fly. 

Can you tell which was caught on which?

 I didn't think so.

September 13, 2018

September 12, 2018

Fairy Tale

It was half way through our vacation.  Driving in the cities was really getting on my nerves.  I was so happy to drive some smaller country roads where the locals were not driving break neck speeds and seeming in such a hurry.  My wife and I were having fun trying to pronounce the names of the little towns we were driving through.  We were near our destination for the day.  It was time to pick one of these tiny dorfs to hole up in for a couple days.

Both Barb and I chuckled when we read the name on the tiny village's city limits sign. Gstadt  It looked like it was spelled wrong.  A few vowels seemed to be missing.

We saw a sign that said "Zimmer Frei"  This means "Room Free ".  We had a hard time finding anyone around.  The only entrance had numerous buildings and I parked behind them and knocked on some doors.  Barb and I watched as the owner's ducks and chickens fought over plums in the courtyard.  An older lady came out and greeted us.  She showed us the rooms available.  There was no elevator so we picked the least amount of stairs.  It was a third floor apartment that rented out as a hotel also.

Our view was not the best but we could still see Lake Chimsee and the Alps to the south.

The room was large and comfortable with a private balcony. We purchased our meal and beverages at a local grocery store and "Getrantmarkt" not far away.

My favorite beer of vacation.

We dined on the balcony that evening and sat out on the balcony until nearly midnight.  A thunderstorm was giving us a light show with lightning going cloud to cloud and the thunder shook the Alps.  The rain pounded down on the tiled roofs and it seemed to cleanse the stress we had endured so far on this whirlwind adventure.  We were enclosed on the balcony but the fierce rain managed to find us and it felt refreshing. We were totally drenched when we finally left our magical balcony. 

It rained hard all night.  Our castle tour began at 1pm so we slept in.

We found our dock where our tour was leaving from and decided lunch was in order.

We had a moth visit us on our table.  It could not stay.  It had many things to do.

We feasted on German specialty meals. 

We took a taxi boat to the island.

It was a long walk from the boat dock to the castle.

We took the wrong taxi boat back to our dock.  Was a fun ride.

We went back to the room and took a nap.  We finished our grocery store purchases again on the balcony that night.  We talked about moving to this very small dorf when we retire.

Barb had spotted a bicycle path that ran all around the lake and talked about riding on it daily when we moved there.  I smiled and almost could see her with long white hair ahead of me on the bicycle and me slowly but surely trying to catch up to her.

We woke up early and had a traditional German breakfast in the owner's private kitchen.  We pointed the rent a car southward to Salzburg and the want to be race car drivers on the autobahn.  These two days were my favorites of the vacation and I often think of them.

Good bye to the ducks and the chickens fighting over plums.  I knew I would never see you again because we all know how ways lead onto ways. 

Stream Clarity

Most streams in my home water are ready for late season fishing.  Couple bigger ones will require a couple more days of no rain.

September 09, 2018

Last Dance

I am a 61 year old over weight retired trout angler with two bad knees and five degenerative discs and a lower back fusion and I love trout fishing.  The fire burns deeply for me.  The urge to chase trout is always on my mind or just below the surface. Trout fishing makes me feel like a little boy each time I go.

My most recent trout outing was very disappointing because I struggled and I feared my days of trout fishing alone were over. I talked to my wife about it.  We have talked about it numerous times before and she wants me to quit fishing alone.  My friend Dan Small also said I should contemplate giving up the solo trips.

There are many morning when my back kicks me out of bed because of the pain. I sit in my recliner in the dark and take two Aleve and two Arthritis Pain Reliever and sit and wait until they kick in.  There are mornings that it feels like I was in the car accident the day before.

The pain and my wife preaching to me to take someone along finally sunk in.  I have been trying as of late to get a fishing partner each time I go.  If I can't get someone to go with me I fish from recliner on the internet.  The recliner gets old and I have too much time on my hands to think.  I was sad just two days ago thinking about my days of solo fishing being gone.  I was not happy that I needed to have a babysitter on stream.  I was not ready for my "Last Dance."

Last night I looked at the weather forecast and saw that this morning would be perfect for chasing some brook trout.  I had a yearly September tradition of chasing them when the first change of weather hit.  I had abandoned that tradition a couple years back due to my knees and back.

 I shared with my wife my burning urge to go in the morning.  I tried with no results to get a fishing partner. I wanted to go badly and she saw my dilemma and almost volunteered to go with me. I told her she didn't have the equipment to wade with me and she would be miserable.  I smiled and told her thanks but no thanks.  She suggested something I had not tried before.  She is a registered nurse and told me to take my pain relievers before I went to bed instead of in the morning.  She thought it might be the ticket.

I was awake before my alarm clock went off.  It wasn't from the typical back pain but from my anticipation of chasing brook trout.  Her suggestion of taking the pain reliever before bed had worked.  I was giddy that I woke up without pain for the first time in ten years.  I was well rested and raring to go fishing.  I put on my waders in the dark quietly so I wouldn't wake my smart loving wife.  Out the door I went.

It was fifty degree outside.  It was one of the coolest morning of the season and I was smiling.  I knew where I was going.  I pointed the vehicle towards my very favorite brook trout stream.  You couldn't pry my smile off my face.  I was heading to a tiny crystal clear cold head water stream.  I had mornings on this stream where my shoulder got sore from catching so many brookies. A one hundred brook trout morning was awaiting me and I was giddy with excitement. The same excitement I still have every time I fish and have had since I was a little boy.

I was on stream at before first light.  There was a slight wind and it almost felt cold. I faced into the wind and closed my eyes.  It felt amazing,  I walked to the stream in the dark.  I heard the stream in the distance and smiled and thought to myself, "Hello old friend." I had not fished this stream in over five years.  It changed from the way I remember it.  It was wider and had not so many deep pocket holes like years past.  The weeds were tall on the bank and wading was the only option.

I was rewarded with a trout in the first hole I threw into.  I knelt down to land it and was surprised to see it was a brown trout. This stream was exclusively brook trout the last time I fished it.  Two more casts and two more browns.  I didn't notice then but I did later that my back which typically screams at me when I bend over to land a trout was silent this morning.

My first few browns had fins tipped in white like brook trout and were amazingly colored.  I was catching fish often but nary a brook trout.  I took the stream temperature and it was sixty degrees. I remember years past taking the temp in September and my favorite brook trout stream typically was closer to fifty degrees.

I sat down often during this outing. I did what my dad always preached about when fishing.  He always said to appreciate your time on the water and look listen and feel your surroundings. I had a sensory smorgasbord surrounding me.  The smell of early fall was on stream.  The wind from earlier was a little more active then and some leaves were spiraling down into the water. The leaves were brown and yellow and tipped in orange. September's wildflowers were there in all their glory. The banks were lined with vivid orange touch me not flowers with cotton candy wild bergamot mixed in.  I was in heaven.

I kept going upstream in search of my first brook trout.  No brook trout were to be found.  I landed 36 total browns. I kept telling myself I would catch a bunch of brookies.  After a while I said aloud "I am going to quit as soon as I land a brook trout.

  The browns were never here before.  Their spots were almost neon colored. I couldn't help but admire their markings.  They had a hint of brook trout in their markings.  I took another stream temp and it was a little colder.  I kept catching browns.  I was getting tired and decided I was going to the road after my next trout.

I finally could feel the water getting colder through my waders.  I took the stream temp and it was fifty degrees.  I knew a brook trout would be to hand shortly. The next cast I saw the unmistakable red flash of fins.  It was a brookie.

I took her photo and checked for gill lice.  There were none.  I revived her longer than typical.  This rare brook trout needed to survive.  She finally blasted out of my hands.  I watched her swim back to her home.  After she left I glanced downward after the water calmed down.  The reflection in the water was not that of a 61 year old with a white beard.  It was of a baby faced 7 year old with a big smile.  It is not my "Last Dance."